France targets Airbnb in tax crackdown


Economy minister Bruno Le Maire said France and Germany would join forces to tackle what he called 'digital platforms' escaping taxes on their business activities in France, notably citing Airbnb as a target.

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The French government is preparing to go after the likes of Airbnb for what it sees as an "unacceptable" level of tax payments, reports Fortune.

Economy minister Bruno Le Maire told the French parliament on Wednesday that France and Germany would team up to tackle the problem, with a plan set to be revealed in mid-September. Apart from Airbnb, platforms such as Google and Amazon are also in the governments' sights.

"These digital platforms make tens of millions of sales and the French Treasury gets a few tens of thousands," Le Maire complained to parliamentarians.

According to a report earlier this week, Airbnb paid just 92,944 euros ($109,000) in French taxes during 2016, despite the fact that France is the room-booking firm's second-biggest market after the US.

In line with many other US web firms, Airbnb achieved this by basing its European operations in Ireland and running the commissions that it claims through that Irish subsidiary. Ireland has a 12.5 percent corporation tax rate, which is far lower than France's 33.3 percent rate.

While Airbnb collects and remits the tourism taxes levied by many French cities, its overall arrangements are clearly not to the liking of national authorities.

Read more of this report from Fortune.

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